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Ocean Breeze: Before

Ocean Breeze: After

SITRAC was formed in March of 1996 when a meeting of leaders from the running community was held at Moore H.S. The purpose of this meeting was to resurrect a 60 year old dream of having an indoor track facility on Staten Island. A place to walk, train and compete for our running youth, athletes, seniors and disabled. A Mecca of Track and Field for competition, as well as providing a safe-haven for our community in inclement weather.

Over 60 people filled the library that evening as Staten Island A.C. President Bob Orazem directed the attendees into thinking "Why can’t Staten Island have its own Indoor Track?" Among those who spoke at the original meeting was Dean of Staten Island track & field coaching Bill Welsh and 1976 Olympian Bill Jankunis.

A petition drive was started and information was sent out to all running groups and schools. In 1997 a flyer was developed by Pete Whitehouse and distributed that highlighted the needs of the Staten Island Running Community. During this time a community based Board of Directors was developed to assist in the direction of the organization. TRAC was incorporated at this time with the help of Larry Rampulla. We began to set the dream in motion and developed a comprehensive strategy and business plan to take this to the community leaders for their support.

In 2000, after several unsuccessful attempts, a meeting was held with then Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari. Lorraine Lettieri prepared a power point presentation that convinced the administration of the need for such an Indoor Track & Field facility. Additionally we began to work with the Parks Department in identifying state and city land available to house such a facility. We were finally making progress toward our goal and all indications were that Staten Island would finally get the long-awaited Indoor Track.

In May of that year a press conference was held in Borough Hall and the headline of the Staten Island Advance the next day read " Indoor Track funded for Staten Island" TRAC forged ahead with the determination that such a historic announcement can set. An additional meeting with the Staten Island Department of Parks had them on board and the Borough President added more funding to the Dept. of Parks budget for this exciting project. TRAC, at the request of the Borough President’s office prepared a site selection analysis. The site selected after careful evaluation was Ocean Breeze. Funding of $12 Million was allocated in the Capital budget by Mayor Giuliani
The project continued forward until Sept. 11, 2001.

The devastation of that day pushed the project so far off the burner it couldn’t be seen as the citizens of NYC concerned themselves with more important tasks. It took a few years to re-cover but our Mayor – Michael Bloomberg and City Parks Commissioner – Benepe did not forget their promise to the Staten Island Community. We felt the time was right to resurrect the dream and take it forward.

The motivation of new board member Jack Minogue breathed new life into TRAC in 2003, as the group forged ahead with the same goal set in 1996. We have come back together to insure the legacy is completed. Our Goal is to have a World Class, State-of-the-Art Track Center completed as part of the Ocean Breeze Park project.

In July of 2010 the Groundbreaking of the Indoor Track & Field Facility took place in front of a thousand supportive and eager people.The project is continuing and a completion date of Summer of 2013 is expected.

SITRAC is an incorporated, non-profit with two primary purposes:


To advocate for, and assist in the development and construction, of a world class INDOOR TRACK AND FIELD arena designed to primarily benefit the local TRACK, Running and COMMUNITY including youth, teens, adults, seniors and disabled who either run competitively or for fitness and recreation.
 
Upon completion of a facility acceptable to this broad 40,000 member running community, SITRAC will work with the appropriate city agency/ agencies, including the NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation and others to ensure appropriate management policies and practices are in place to enable maximum participation from both a quality and quantity perspective. SITRAC believes that a NYC/PRIVATE NON-PROFIT collaborative partnership is the best management model for such an operation. We will strongly advocate for this model.

History

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